from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Entry #63: Static

with 8 comments

It’s been nearly a month since my last posting, which means it’s time for another post. Since my last post, I took a trip down to Jeonju to see my mom, started teaching again, sold my old motorcycle on a rainy Sunday morning, entertained a friend from Tokyo for a couple of days full of whisky and throwing around money like a man with thrice the means, flew to Osaka over the Chuseok break to convince a lesbian to give me a chance (forgetting to bring my wallet when I left for the airport), and finally, took out a couple of friends from my past in Seattle and their wives for a strange night of drinking, patbingsu, street games, and long, drawn-out drunken debates over theology. It’s been raining the past few days, but the rains have stopped and I dusted off my bike and am here in the coffee shop once again.

While it was a rare treat to have so many things to do and people to see, I’m happy that things have returned to their “normal,” uneventful state. Being social takes a lot out of me. I don’t have classes on Tuesdays, and I spent the entirety of my day in my apartment. The only time I was outdoors was stepping out onto my balcony for a smoke. I’m sure my neighbors don’t appreciate it, but I smoke in my “at home” attire—a pair of boxer-briefs and nothing else.

My life is so predictable, sometimes I wonder why people bother contacting me when they know exactly how I’m going to answer.

“What’s new?” “Nothing much.”

“What are you doing?” “I’m at the coffee shop, trying to get some writing done.”

“What did you do last weekend?” “Drank with friends,” or “Just stayed at home.”

“Are you seeing anyone?” “Nope.”

“Still working at the university?” “Yeah.”

“Did you publish your book yet?” “Not yet.”

(If I do die early, I could probably find an automated reply program to keep up the appearance that I’m still around.)

Even when there is a development, it’s more of the same. My new (used) motorcycle looks just like my old (used) motorcycle, just a little bigger with less rust damage. My new apartment is a seven minutes’ walk from my previous place. My new coffee shop is also the same distance away. The thing is, this static life of mine, I really enjoy it.

People say that my way is not really living, that life is about its ups and downs. I’ve had my share of ups, but I’m not a very excitable person so they’re mostly wasted on me. The problem is the downs. When I saw my friends from Seattle, I was reminded of my nickname in college—Job, the biblical man of sorrows. My life in college was pretty shitty. Having to serve in the Korean Army was a shock initially, but it seemed a natural culmination of all the rotten luck and tragedy up to that point. While I was in the service, I learned that the best way to stay out of trouble was to stay under the radar.

I’ve reached a degree of zen in my life—want nothing, suffer nothing. Unfortunately, this blog is one of the things that suffer as a result. My friends from Seattle told me that they read this blog—I was surprised, just as I am whenever someone tells me that—and they commented on the infrequency of my updates. It’s been a problem since I first started this blog. My personal aversion for blogging aside, I just have nothing new to share. If a month passes, at least I can summarize what little has happened and maybe some worthwhile thought will occur to me as I’m writing.

The good news for this blog is that I do hope to have something to share by the end of the year. I’ve started my agent search—I sent out one query a couple weeks ago—and I’ve decided that if I can’t (get off my lazy ass to) find an agent by the end of this year, I’m just going to self-publish. Then the question won’t be “When is your book coming out?” but “When is your next book coming out?”

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8 Responses

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  1. “People say that my way is not really living…”

    Which people? Let’s go find ’em and fuck ’em up.

    Kevin Kim

    September 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    • Haha. Thanks for the offer, but it’s not necessary. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s something I heard while watching TV the other day, but it’s also what’s written on people’s faces the rare occasions I’ve mentioned my personal philosophy.

      holdenbeck

      September 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      • Some people just don’t know how to handle contentment. You’re content; they show contempt.

        Kevin Kim

        September 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      • I like to think of it in that way, too. I don’t really take much stock in what other people think anyway.

        holdenbeck

        September 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  2. Glad you updated. Your updates are no less pointless than mine. I think writing is always a good thing for writers. Or at least that’s how I justify the banality of my own blog.

    Chris

    October 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    • I do actually see the benefit of keeping a blog in those periods in which I’m doing relatively little writing, such as the present. I need to be producing something, anything, and this blog is a means that I often neglect.

      I think beyond an aversion to blogging, I have an aversion to using the internet for personal purposes and even beyond that, I have an aversion to putting myself out there. That was a problem with my first draft–it was written more for myself than to be read by anyone else. I guess that’s another benefit of blogging, being able to practice writing to an audience.

      That being said, I doubt that I’ll start blogging more frequently until I make some substantial progress with the book.

      holdenbeck

      October 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  3. Arguably – writing is a way to put yourself out there whether directly or indirectly. But I know what you mean about social media. There are some things that probably should be just private or selective at least – but with the internet, it’s an open source grabbag

    Chris

    October 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    • I agree. Perhaps my problem is that I’m too selective. Sometimes when I sit down to write a brief (and what I believe to be meaningless) update, I realize that there were other things I could’ve posted about in the interim. I wonder if it’s a result of my previous Xanga blog. It was when I first came to Korea and updated prolifically, and when I looked back at what I had written, I was ashamed. It was like posting my high school essays for everyone to see.

      holdenbeck

      October 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm


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